Art Histories Seminar
Mi 05 Nov 2014 | 10:00–12:00

Following the Clues of the English Iconoclast Corsairs in Spanish America. Context Overview and the Case of Santo Domingo Attack

Roxana Nakashima (Art Histories Fellows 2014/15)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

Boazio, Baptista. The famouse West Indian voyadge made by the Englishe fleete of 23 shippes and Barkes wherin weare gotten the townes of St. Iago, Sto. Domingo, Cartagena and St. Augustines the same beinge begon from Plimmouth in the moneth of September 1585 and ended at Portesmouth in Julie 1586 the whole course of the saide viadge beinge plainlie described by the pricked line / newlie come forth by Baptista B. [Leiden: s.n., ca. 1589] 1 map : engraving, hand coloring, mounted on paper ; 41,3 x 53,1 cm. Original in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

During the sixteenth century, the veneration of religious images was debated and attacked in different spaces. For instance, the Spanish conquistadores destroyed many Indian temples and idols in the New World, while in Europe some radical branches of the Reformation also profanated Catholic churches and burned holy sculptures. If in the first case the images attacked were unfamiliar in their forms and meanings for the Europeans, in the other case, the reformed knew exactly what they were breaking. My main objective is to understand the visual culture that was operating not only in the veneration of the Catholic images, but also and specially in its destruction. To address this question, I will consider the iconoclast practices of the English corsairs in Spanish America and as a case study, the Santo Domingo attack that took place during the Sir Francis Drake’s expedition of 1586. As a work in progress, different clues will be presented and evaluated as possible ways to identify the attacked images and also to analyze the meaning of such destructions.

Roxana Nakashima obtained her PhD degree in history in 2013. In 2014, she became a research fellow at the John Carter Brown Library where she is studying the use of galleys in the Caribbean sea in the 16th century. Her research interests include political and religious conflicts that emerged during the European overseas expansion of the sixteenth century.

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